As I pulled my boat onto the hot sand I was startled at what I heard - not a damn thing. The startling part was the complete absence of sound, no birds, no bugs, no leaves rustling in the wind, no far off motor noises or children's laughter floating o through the air. NOTHING.
I felt very alone, solitary and this brought a whole new level of fear and discomfort. Even though I had nothing left to loose, I never wanted to be alone. I pushed those thoughts out of my head, knowing the madness they would lead too.
I climbed the rough cliff that just days before I had tumbled down, running for my life. I could still see some of my blood dried and splattered across some of the rocks. As I crested the lip I expected to see carnage and destruction, decaying bodies of friends, family and animals - but there was nothing. The world looked like it had just stopped, again no sound, no wind and this time it was coupled with an eerie stillness. The grass stood straight as arrows, the bows of the trees hung low and still as if any movement would alert an unseen beast that would bring udder destruction. I looked for the bodies left of my heard, but there was nothing - not even remnants. No blood, no bone, no wool - nothing to give the faintest hint of the scene I had witnessed only days before. I took some solace in this, I did not want to see anything like that again - especially the left overs a week later.
As I rounded a bale of hay (the very same one I had been chained too) my giant green John Deer filled my vision. A smile spread across my face, the filthy burnt skin stung as my smile widened. I could feel little cracks open up on my lips and I could taste a trickle of blood. This awoke a lot of my senses I didn't even realize were dulled. I became aware of the emptiness more so then before. My nose opened up, my eyes darting around looking for some sign of life - but this only confirmed my fears, there was nothing.
I ran up to my tractor an jumped up in the cab, I finally released a breath I had been holding for god only knows how long. Everything was in its place, the remainder of my six pack, my tray full of roaches and a perfectly rolled crisp white spliff giving off that sultry sweet smell I was so accustomed too. Instinctively I reached up for it, stopping just short. Probably best to remain sober, well maybe not - I burned that glorious fucker from end to end.
It was only in this new state of mind that I started to notice little things, my freshly cut field had grown at least a month or more, the hay bales were so dry and parched - certainly not what you would find in bales only hayed a week before. Even dust seemed to cover everything in the cab of my tractor.
I didn't know what to make of this?? Could I have been stuck floating for longer then I had thought, no I would not have survived any longer. I reached down a grab a trusty friend, my .22 that I kept behind my seat. I caressed it in my hands, feeling the cold hard steel, the smooth long barrel and the well used stock. Holding this made me feel comfort at least I knew I had a way out, if things were to get that bad. I also grabbed my other traveling companion out of the box next to my chair. Popped the cap and lapped up the sweet warm nectar. Soothing my parched throat. I felt revitalized, stoned but still fresh.
I reached down and my old faithful John Deer roared to life as turned the key, god how I loved that tractor. Throw her into gear and off I went in search of something, anything really. No matter what I encountered inside my head I was ready. I popped another cap and drank another warm beer, this one tasted a little more bitter then the last but that's only because I could taste again.
I rode on for hours without seeing a solitary thing, it was very strange my wheels churned up dust that fell from the air as quickly as I had ever seen. Still there was no wind, no sound, still emptiness everywhere. I opened all the windows in hope of something but there was nothing. My eyes lit up as my ranch came into view. The stillness irked me as I neared, everything looked the same except aged as if nobody had been here in months. The garden untended and the grass un-mowed. I called out for my companion Webb but my tabby was missing too. Inside everything worked, the lights turned on the water worked, the cooler was still cold and the milk was still fresh. This really disturbed me, how could that be when everything else showed so much age?
I passed the hall on the way to the bathroom and a glint caught my eye, a picture of my wife. I began to sob, if everything else was gone why was I still here and not with her where I belonged. Why had I been forsaken.
This is when my thoughts turned to religion. Had the Rapture come, had I been left behind to fight in the final battle. Was it an Apocalypse and I had been missed. Nothing made sense - I was not a religious man so why were these the first thoughts that made any sense to me.
***Scratch, scratch, bang***
I froze, my mind instantly sober - everything inside of me stopped. No breath, no sound even my heart seemed to stop beating. My eyes fixed on the cellar door. The old brass handle started to slowly turn glistening in the sunlight.
Like a flash the door swung open, the first thing to hit me was the smell, the smell of rotten death, rancid meat that had been left to bake in the sun. It hit my like a wall, but I was unwavering. I stood my ground, not flinching an ounce. I just stared into the depth, stared at the black glowing eyes that glared back at me. No movement, not even a blink came between us.